Star Eater-Chapter 580 -

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Chapter 580: Chapter 580

Arthur's Point of View

Druid Forest

Sitting in our little tree suite, bored out of my mind, the others were beginning to grow restless. "Do you think we should go do something?" Lucia asked me.

Sprawled out across a couch, and some other furniture with my legs, I shrugged simply. "I mean, if you want to." My neck was hanging over the back of the couch as I looked up at the ceiling, which was still part of the tree, big surprise, I know. "I'm mostly waiting for something to happen with Vitar or Ventari... Or the tree lady."

"Tree lady?" Lucia repeated as Camoa snorted.

"He means Lady Turiel." Our personal Druid answered. "She leads the Druid, or used to anyway, but that's neither here nor there."

Vome was gone and showing Rock around the tree city. "Are you planning on insulting everyone here by using improper titles?" Lucia inquired in an unimpressed tone. "Or are you going to keep saying you're drunk for everything you do?"

A groan left my lips. "I've explained this before, and it's not like Elincia was uninvolved! Why is this my fault?"

"You know why."

"Yeah, and I also know you're porking Alwin. Why is it okay for you, but not for me?" I lifted my head up to stare at her. Lucia blushed and looked away. "Uh huh. That's what I thought."

"At least we're subtle!" Lucia called back.

Snorting, my head leaned back again. "Keep telling yourself that. Be thankful the children in the manor don't know what you two are doing, but many of us refused to interrupt you two, and Marina had to warn me that you almost killed Alwin via snu-snu."

Even without looking, I knew her blush grew, and if the cushion slamming into me via magic was anything to go by, she knew I was right. Toppling over, my body spread out across the floor, which again, was more tree. Everything here was part tree. A huff came from across the room as I just remained at my new spot on the floor.

"Can you not refer to it in such an uncouth manner?" The embarrassment in her voice was thick. "You make it sound so animalistic."

"I mean, I could," I admitted. "But I probably won't. Uncouth..." I mocked.

"Ugh!" Frustration. Aggravation.

"Given what everyone has told us about his night with Priestess Elincia, he is no more than a mere beast." Camoa spoke, and I could practically see the smug smirk on her face hidden by the cushion on his face.

Ripping the cushion from my face, I groaned while the door opened. "Can we please stop talking about my sex life!? I barely get any as it is, and the one time I do, everyone seems to know about it!"

Camoa chuckled. "If it makes you feel any better," the Druid couldn't help herself it appeared, "At least everyone is saying it was impressive."

"What did I just walk into?" A familiar voice called, and I shot forward as I looked to the door to see the former Dwarf Queen.

"We were just talking about Arthur's night with Priestess Elincia." Camoa answered.

"I heard about that." Ventari admitted causing both Lucia and I to groan in annoyance. She shrugged in response. "What? Rumors like that travel, and many seemed rather impressed by-"

"OKAY!" Lucia cut in as I climbed to my feet to see her hands raised in a halting manner. "No more is needed!"

Running a hand down my face, I ignored the look of horror on Lucia's face at hearing more intimate details of my night with her aunt. "So, Ventari, why are you here?"

"Vitar can see you now." She started as she gestured to the door where a few guards, Druids and Dwarves in attendance, waited for her. "If you're available." Ventari added after a moment out of politeness and chose not to comment on why he might be on the floor.

Lucia was the one who sighed in relief. "Oh, thank Davost."

I rolled my eyes at that but refrained from insulting the so-called goddess. "Lead on."

"Still not a fan of Davost, Arthur?" Ventari inquired as we were escorted.

"Let's just say I'm less than impressed with her and leave it at that." My attention shifted to the walkways above us before we entered an elevator. "How is Vitar handling everything?"

Ventari's lips thinned for a moment. "My son has long been groomed for his role as the Dwarven Prince. To become king of both Dwarves and Druids, however, was not something he was prepared for. Do you have any idea how difficult it is to unite two races, ones that had once been adversaries, and expect them to cooperate peacefully?"

"Pfft." I let out before a chuckle escaped my throat. "Yeah. Been there. Done that. I don't envy Vitar one bit."

All of them eyed him in a small amount of surprise. "I suppose you would." Ventari repeated. "From the little I know, you were a king once, were you not?"

Lucia decided to answer for me. "The Uncrowned King of Lestrania."

"A useless title." I sniped.

"Not useless." Lucia disagreed. "Arthur was the one who united Lestrania back when it was formed. He led our forefathers in the war against the Demons thousands of years ago by solidifying the alliance between Zugal, Elves, and Humans."

"History says differently." Camoa added. "But we all know history can be wrong."

"Wrong," I began, "Or erased?"

Ventari looked up at him. "I see. Well, any advice you could give my son for his new role, I would appreciate it."

Frowning, I replied. "Given that I was betrayed, my inner circle was destroyed, and failed to defeat the Demon Queen, I would recommend not taking my advice."

"Maybe not, but experience of any kind can be insightful. Surely there are some thoughts of improvement for our new kingdom floundering around in that head of yours." Ventari pointed out as we finally made it to one of the walkways hundreds of feet in the canopy.

Glancing over at the very thin branch railings, if you could even call them that, I couldn't help but wonder how many people had fallen from one of these. We moved to another tree as I saw more and more Druids with less Dwarves. Part of me compared the new capital to Helmsforth and how the more you ascended each one, the more segregated it seemed to become. Although, I'd be willing to bet that the Dwarves preferred being on the ground here.

"I'd be more than willing to offer my advice on certain topics." I finally said after a few moments of silence as we continued our trek across the canopy. "Is there something Vitar is worried about specifically?"

The former Queen shrugged. "I have his ear, and Vitar is quick to ask for insight and advice from the Druids along with myself and Dwar, but he is also trying to stand on his own two feet." She answered.

My head bobbed back and forth in thought. "Not really the time, nor the situation, to try and stand alone." I commented. "He's a new king, of a new alliance, and both races are fresh from a war. Cooperation, advice, and aid from anywhere and everywhere should be more important. Especially for such a young king." I told her before I shrugged in return. "Maybe if he was just crowned over Vithari, I could possibly understand, but this is a completely different situation. One that none of you probably have any experience with. Expectations for oneself are important, but only if they are correct. Looking for an answer no one has by yourself is foolish."

Many seemed stunned by my response. "How is it you go from being insufferable to dropping little tidbits of knowledge in such a manner?" Camoa pondered aloud.

"By having dealt with all of this before." I answered. "Vitar is young. He cannot be expected to do everything perfectly. I'm sure even learning the Druids' customs and expectations are difficult enough on top of everything else." Then I gestured to the side of the walkway. "The fact that there aren't an excessive amount of forces or any mines, quarries, or excavations going on show that his head is in the right place."

Ventari nodded. "My son has been trying his best to figure out how our two races can best cohabitate with one another."

"A king can only do so much. It's not just his responsibility." I told her honestly. "The best thing he has going for him is that both races just came from a war where the two helped each other survive. That builds strong bonds."

Lucia seemed to disagree. "But betrayal happens to even the mightiest, you're one such example, and I imagine that is also on his mind."

Glancing at her, many seemed to consider her words, but I just smirked. "You'd be surprised at how strong the bonds of battle can be." Crossing my arms as I spoke, my daughter looked at me. "Sometimes, you find your true friends on the battlefield. No one here will soon forget how they aided one another, and it will likely be generations after Vitar has passed where they forget how he opened his city gates for former adversaries."

Camoa was the one to speak. "You truly hold Vitar in high regard, don't you?"

"He deserves it. Just as Lady Turiel deserves it for going to him for succor. Her concern for her people made her ignore past grievances." I shrugged again. "Given how she gave into my idea for Vitar to become king, I'd say she agrees with me about the young King."

"I'm sure your approval will mean much in the coming days. We may not be able to travel as freely as you do, but I imagine our relations with Lestrania, moving forward, will be stronger than ever." Ventari informed me. "Gods know the heroes' approval will be invaluable."

I immediately ignored what she called me and replied with, "Just be careful of Arceana. Elincia's alright, but if you want to deal with just me, that's okay too."

Ventari nodded while some of her guards seemed surprised at my denouncement. "Has Arceana gotten worse?"

Lucia snorted. "That's putting it mildly. Part of me wondered if Arthur was going to kill her."

Everyone turned to me in shock. "You can't just say something like that without context." I replied with a roll of my eyes. Giving Ventari a quick rundown of what happened after I returned, many were looking at Lucia with new admiration, mostly because of how she was related to me. "So, yeah. I wasn't happy. With Arceana nor Rudnurth."

"I see." Ventari said simply as she glanced back at Lucia. "Is that why you were asking about other High Elves that matched Arceana's and Lady Lucia's description? You were searching for this 'Mara?'"

"Yeah. Although, I might have a lead on her, but nothing too concrete yet."

"What about this Undine and Obsidian?"

The Queen was nervous. As she should be. With more and more Aridians popping up, it'd make anyone uneasy. It's making me uneasy. After all, even I didn't know why they were all starting to reveal themselves now.

I shrugged in response. "There's not much I can do about them right now. Undine controls Crawlana as well, which just makes her position more difficult to get to. I'm not going to kill all the Seafolk under her protection just to get to her."

Camoa decided to chime in once more. "Tell that to all the Succubae you hunted down."

"They overstepped." Was my dark reply. "Lucia, despite what she was put through, decided to spare the rest of them. I certainly wouldn't've."

"And now they work for you?" Ventari pressed in an uneasy tone.

"Yep." I said with a nod before gesturing with a thumb at Lucia. "Her again. Freya has been avoiding me in every sense of the word."

Lucia huffed. "You refer to the kids as 'the children' or 'child' instead of learning any of their names."

"They have names?"

"Ugh." Lucia groaned while Ventari frowned.

"Do you truly blame the children for their-" Ventari started, but I cut her off.

"Not at all."

Camoa once again clarified on my behalf. "Arthur doesn't think they should be near them, but he feels stuck with them. As such, he's been trying to give them space, especially since he was the one who killed their parents. Many of the children understand why he did what he did, yet, Arthur still feels somewhat uncomfortable being responsible for so many orphaned kids that he now employs."

A scoff left my lips. "It's not a good look, and it's not something I would've done in any other situation. I probably look like I just forced a bunch of kids into my service after massacring their race." I pointed out, and then turned to Ventari. "How would you feel if I slaughtered all your people and then took your children to work in my service with barely any hope of leaving?"

"I'd think you were a monster, but the situation is unique enough where I won't comment on it, and it has been explained in a way where I can understand your hesitation and point of view." She then shrugged. "That may not make it better, but they're alive. Had you abandoned them, they most certainly would've perished. For that, I'd say you should be proud of yourself."

"That wasn't my choice. Had Camoa not saved Lucia, I'm not sure what would have happened."

"Then don't focus on it. Instead, think of what you can do moving forward." Ventari replied before gesturing to a set of large doors to the largest tree house he'd ever seen. "We're here. This is the new palace, sort of, created by the Druids for their new king."

"Impressive. Although, I'd be wary about living in a place that'd light up like a matchstick."

"Druid magic makes it fire resistant. It'd take an incredible flame to catch this place on fire." Camoa answered. "Or a master of magic." She added with a pointed look at me.

"What did I do?"

Lucia snorted as we entered the giant tree house. "Maybe she's referring to your explosive personality."

Ventari slapped the back of her hand against my stomach lightly. "If you wish to retain an air of formality, now would be the time to start."

"Do I need to?"

Lowering her hand, Ventari eyed me. "No. Vitar wouldn't ask you to do that, but I am." That got me to raise a brow. "Formal support for the new King in public would be greatly appreciated. The respect of our savior would go a long way. In private is another story, which I'm sure the two of you will work out later."

With a nod, I agreed. "Very well. Far be it from me to cause any turmoil to one with enough on their plate. Is there anything I should know?"

"Be yourself." Ventari immediately answered as we moved through the tree palace.

I snorted in amusement. "Didn't you just say not to do that?"

"I asked you to formal and respectful, but many know you are not normal. Be yourself while respectful."

"That sounds almost like you wish for me to woo him."

"We're doomed." Lucia commented.

I swatted at her, which made her flare her magic and slap my hand back. "Pfft." Clicking my tongue, we stopped at a few large doors. "I'm always respectful when people deserve it."

Camoa didn't seem to believe in me either as she said, "This should be entertaining."

"No faith, the lot of you."

"Faith is the only thing getting me through this, Arthur." Ventari said cheekily.

"I hate all of you. Let's go meet the king."

When we entered the room, it looked like a glorified throne room. A wooden table stretched up to said throne with chairs decorating the sides. Very impractical in my opinion when you could just have a war room, or a meeting room, but not my palace, not my problem. Dwar was present, along with one or two other, older dwarves in attendance. Across from them were the Druids. I only recognized Lady Turiel, although I'm certain the others were somewhat important if they were present.

"I present to you-" A guard tried to introduce our group.

At the head of it all was Vitar with an empty chair beside him. No doubt it was for his mother, Ventari. "Arthur Pendragon." The young king called.

With a respectful nod, I replied. "King Vitar."

Standing, the others followed suit as the table disappeared into the floor and walls along with the chairs. Nifty. "Please," Vitar said cheerfully, "There are no need for titles here. Especially not from you. I would not be king, nor would there be a need for one, without your aid against the Demon forces." He then smirked. "Besides, I already heard all about how you were screaming my name down on the ground floor." His smirk quickly grew as his eyes sparkled in amusement. "What did you call me? 'A bundle of Dwarven joy' I believe it was."

I immediately gestured to Dwar. "Your General requested I call you that."

The Dwarf in question looked insulted before he shook his head at the obvious attempt to deflect responsibility. "Somehow I doubt that." He raised his hand simply. "We'll take our scheduled break. Arthur has requested to speak with me." Looking at him, the king raised a brow. "Is this private, or would you allow Lady Turiel's attendance as well?"

"That's fine. It'll probably be good to get opinion." The Druid in question bowed slightly in response.

"We'll continue this tomorrow." Vitar said as the others filed out of the room leaving only Ventari, the General, the King, and the Druid. "It's wonderful to see you again, Arthur. After hearing of how you left, some of us feared the worst."

"Everything worked out fine." I replied evenly.

"Does that hold true to your relationship with Priestess Elincia? Because I heard several rumors abou-"

Lucia immediately groaned in annoyance at that while Camoa giggled. "Not you too." I whispered as I held my arms out in annoyance.

To be fair, the King seemed lost about my reaction and tilted his head slightly. "What?"

"Nothing." I quickly cut in. "We came to speak with you about ill tidings and how to move forward."

Vitar nodded grimly. "General Dwar has informed me of this other High Elf in our forests. Thankfully, he doesn't seem to have found us." He replied as he led us to a side door with a more intimate office.

Furniture, such as couches, sofas, and more littered the room around a coffee table. "I wouldn't be so sure, but he did seem uninterested in any of you. Let's hope it stays that way."

"Indeed." Vitar agreed as he motioned for everyone to sit.

Many did, almost all of us in fact. All of us except one. "Lord Arthur," Lady Turiel called slowly, "I must inquire as to your relationship with this Druid you've brought with you."

Ventari quickly answered since we had just spoken. "Camoa, here, saved Lady Lucia's life after she was captured by the Succubus along with Alwin Farro." She explained. "On death's door, Arthur took her to Camoa for healing, and she was able to save the Lady's life."

Lady Turiel's lips thinned. "And what is your relationship with the Lady Lucia?" The Druid pressed.

"She's my daughter." I answered. Camoa looked extremely smug for some reason, but given the question was about our relationship, I could discern why they were curious. "Has Camoa's presence offended you?"

"Times are changing." Lady Turiel answered politely. "And we must change with them. No trouble will find Camoa from our people." However, she turned from me to look more directly at the other Druid. "As long as she keeps her knowledge to herself."

"Far be it from me to tempt anyone, Lady Turiel." Camoa replied dryly. "Don't worry about me or my knowledge. I'm not here to cause trouble."

I must admit, I was curious. Shit, they downright had my attention at this point, but I didn't want to press either. If the two women could sort this out through vague warnings and hints, far be it from me to interfere.

"Well," Vitar began a little less sure, "That's that then."

A snort left my throat before I could stop it, but I quickly covered it with a cough into my fist as if clearing my throat. "Right." Vitar gestured for me to speak. "Let me give you a quick run down of what's going on."

After a few minutes of explaining things, along with the sudden upcropping of High Elves, Vitar had a hand against his lips in thought. "This is..." He sighed as his hand flopped down. "This is disturbing."

"It is, but that's another reason why I'm here."

"To join your summit, or to recruit us into your war against the Demon Horde?" Vitar asked as he leaned back. "The summit you wish to hold is a good idea, but I'm not convinced many will attend it."

Lucia jumped in. "If enough world leaders agree to attend, others will have little choice."

Ventari nodded at that. "Hence why you're seeking out our attendance being both Druid and Dwarves in one. Lestrania being involved would make that three." She glanced at me. "I take it Elincia would be the Lestranian dignitary?"

I nodded. "She would. Crawlana is in the air, but we're hoping the Dragons will attend."

The young king tilted his head. "Do you really think they would?"

"Maybe not many of them, but even just one or two of them would practically force the rest of the world to join in." Was my answer.

"Dragons are powerful. If they go, the rest of the world won't sit idly by." Lady Turiel commented.


Vitar gave a slow nod. "We agree to our attendance for this summit." He then motioned to his mother and Lady Turiel. "I will not be able to go, but I will send both members of royalty who will know our situation perhaps even better than I. They will be our representatives." ๐˜ง๐˜ณโ„ฏโ„ฏ๐‘คโ„ฏ๐‘๐‘›๐‘œ๐‘ฃโ„ฏ๐‘™.๐‘๐‘œ๐˜ฎ

Both women nodded in agreement. "That's fine."

"However, I would like your escort to and from this summit. That kind of travel is difficult, and our resources are greatly limited right now." Vitar pointed out. "If you would help this burden, protect them, and return them when the summit is over, I would be most grateful."

"That'll be easy enough." I agreed. "Your situation is unique, and I can escort their guards as well if you feel more comfortable. While I cannot promise them to come back unharmed," That alarmed him, "Due to unexpected developments, I will do my best to keep them safe. You have my word."

"Your word is enough." Vitar said with a thankful nod. "However, us joining this war will be impossible for quite some time. If the Demons come here, we will fight just like last time, but our people are not ready for another battle like last time, Arthur." His head hung in shame. "It pains me to say this, but I cannot give you the help you seek. It would destroy us."

Lucia looked at me as a silence filled the room. Vitar didn't know that I had no intention of asking them to join a war, after all, this war would involve everyone one way or another. Still, he was clearly distraught at what he thought I had come here for. To deny me, for the benefit of his own people, must've been difficult. Especially since he knows I'm the only reason any of them are alive. freewe

That, and I could kill all of them on a mere whim. "Calm, Vitar. I'm not here to ask you to join a war that hasn't even started yet."

The young king looked relieved and let out a breath he'd been holding. "Thank you, Arthur."

I held up a hand to stop him. "As I said, I'm not here to ask you to join a war. However," Leaning forward with my fingers steepling together, I smiled, "I do have something else in mind for you and your people. If you'd be interested, that is."

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